I love Hélène Grimaud’s Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor. She dominates the music with her gentle touch, as a woman will do. And the music loves her for it. She brings the music to its knees, and still the music loves her. She drags the romanticism out of it, kicking and screaming as it were, clinging to the olde bedposts of classicism, clawing the beaten floorboards of staid traditionalism. I adore this. I love where her beautiful heart is. The lingeringly dramatic tempo. The feel of beauteous grandeur. Her thrillingly exciting expressionism. The great beauty of her spirit lending to the music an equal exquisiteness. The renowned beauty of this great music reduced to a mere backdrop framing the otherworldly beautiful, rare and elegant woman that is Hélène Grimaud. Hélène stirs the soul, and excites the senses, as succinctly as she elicits the greatest of admiration and adulation.
But let us be clear. In this cavalcade of art and emotion, of music and beauty, that washes over us like waves of foaming harmonies and cresting melodies, it is Hélène Grimaud whom we find to be exquisite. As defined by most dictionaries. Exquisite – ‘of such beauty or delicacy as to arouse intense delight’. That’s Hélène Grimaud. And that’s what she does to us. Oh, joy!
The flawless perfection of her sensuous appearance. The sophistication in the way she dresses. The beauty of her hair. Her face. Of her sweet character. Of her irresistible and enticing body. Beautiful arms and hands doing their thing. Her beautiful bottom dancing on the piano bench. So beguiling it is. No, not the bench. And with great respect to Hélène always. We wait for her to lift herself from the piano bench, with the elation she feels as she plays this beautiful music. Suspending in the air, above the bench, for the briefest of moments, until she touches down again. Her excited elevations are eagerly anticipated moments. Her incredible musicianship easily enjoyed as well.
The supreme joy of her astounding womanly beauty is an endless cavern of puristic and unadulterated delights. Shameless in my enjoyment of her, I am wracked with guilt afterwards. For how could this cosmic and universal love I feel for art and for such great music be mixed together with these primal and personal desires I may entertain for beautiful Hélène Grimaud. And for a moment I find myself confused and more than a little perplexed. But not for long. For even my simple mind then realizes that these things are really not in conflict with each other, or unrelated to each other, or certainly not opposites. These things are really one and the same. This feeling of love and admiration for great music and for the great Hélène Grimaud is one and the same. The energy permeating the cosmos and the beautiful energy emanating from Hélène Grimaud is one and the same. And the deepest and most primal instincts and awareness that can be found in women has its origins in the vastness of the universe, in its elements and its energy, and that all of this is one and the same.
This is this same palette of magic that has always been present in women, from the dawn of time, that has found its way into this music, quite recently, relatively speaking, mere centuries ago. And I realize that looking at Hélène Grimaud and being consumed by the wonder of her art is like experiencing all that has ever been, all that is, and all that will ever be. It is altogether a sweet summation of the mystery of existence, and of the wonder of life itself. I myself may not be capable of understanding most any of this, but on a primal level, on my most personal level, I take immense comfort in it. That all is the one and one is the all. And the beautiful one most in my imagination is Hélène Grimaud. She is a glorious creature of such startling awareness and inspiration and divinity, that I am overwhelmed all over again, but this time with a solace and a comfort and a certain joy. And in it all, revealed in its bare essence, I have a singular moment of clarity. And the truth is clear. That it is all one and the same. It is a beautiful feeling of togetherness with all things. A wondrous joy of unity with all.
And I find myself healed once again. I recover quickly, regain my composure, and restore my energy again. As there is always more of Hélène Grimaud to find, to discover, to explore, and to shamelessly, as it were, and wantonly enjoy. And why not. Given to humanity by the celestial beings, of Hélène Grimaud we can only do our part, and appreciate and respect her. And maybe slip in a little adoration for good measure. We just can’t help it. Hélène has us helpless in her grasp. And even as delicate as it is, we are held firmly and we are held for eternity. Until the world runs out of time. Until we run out of shame. Until the poets run out of rhyme. We only have ourselves to blame. For she is an innocent. She is an angel. She is celestial. And she is divine. Sweet and beautiful Hélène Grimaud is eternal. An artist for the ages. A beauty for all time. A woman for forever.
Hélène Grimaud has an inspired heart, and is true to herself. And her determination to follow her own artistic path, her own musical journey, is a beautiful and remarkable thing. Her unique viewpoint on all things, musical or otherwise, comes from her studied intelligence, her artistic brilliance, and her own special gifts and secret insights, and we respect all of this to no end. This seeming obsession that an accomplished artist will still have with seeking out her own inspiration, steadfastly staying with what she believes to be true, and listening to her own voice, is one of the great aspects of all music, of all art.
Hélène Grimaud is a true original, and she is fearless in her interpretation. With a brilliant independence, and a refined judgment in her approach. She is masterly in her craft, in her art, and her vision of her own take on music is to be respected and admired.
Her performance of this majestic Piano Concerto is lustrous and resplendent …the lingering tempo, deliberate with intent, not dirge-like certainly, but soulful. As if there is still an ounce of emotion left in this piece, in the notes, that she and the other wonderful musicians are trying to wring, with dear mercy, out of it. And oh, but why shouldn’t they. Bless their beautiful hearts. Because music of this legendary magnificence, and we can all agree that it is that, deserves at least moments and opportunities, offered by the finest of artists, to explore the shadowed areas of the music, the at-first unseen, or unheard, beauty. And like whispers hardly distinct in cloistered halls, we find the beautiful sound, but more than that, we are overcome by the eloquence and the depth of the emotion. Overcome by the stirring beauty of her intense concentration and by the sweet pleasure of her deep inspiration. Her phrasing, her technique, the nuances of her intonation, all mere minions, laid bare at her feet, at the command of this goddess of music, one who is so in control, who exerts her dominance with the gentlest of touch.
And that incredibly beautiful sweater that she wears in the rehearsal, yes, the one she has on in the interview as well. Where did she get that. I want that. Oh, Hélène of grace and style. Sitting at rehearsal, there is a moment when you smile, and some soft lights shine on your face, that I’ve never seen you more beautiful. The angelic tenderness of your sweet face is heartbreakingly beautiful, and affects me in the most meaningful of ways.
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